Archive for June, 2014

This year’s June 1 post was headlined “May Ends With Lupine DWARF STARS Poetry Acceptance,” concerning my two-line “The Werewolf Explains,” soon to appear in the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s annual “year’s best” short poetry anthology.  And so to end June a new werewolf poem, “Beware of the Dog,” has just been accepted for the “Grievous Angel:  Flash Fiction & Poetry” section of British editor/publisher/writer Charles Christian’s URBAN FANTASIST.  “Beware of the Dog” is a sort of working-class werewolf poem, gritty around the edges, which tries to put lycanthropy into a proper perspective.  In short, I hope an appropriate fit for the URBAN FANTASIST.

Some of us may recall meeting Charles before as poetry editor of FOCUS, THE BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION’S MAGAZINE FOR WRITERS when he reprinted “California Vamp” — one of five vamps to make the Atlantic crossing at that time — in its winter 2012-13 issue (cf. March 26 2013, July 5 2012).  Also in 2012 he had accepted my flash fiction piece “The Dragon Tattoo” for an earlier issue of URBAN FANTASIST (cf. June 30 2012).

According to Charles, he’ll get back to me when he has a date for “Beware of the Dog” to be published.  In the meantime, more on URBAN FANTASIST can be found by pressing here; on DWARF STARS and the SFPA by pressing here.

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”Amidst frightening tales of terror, there lie hidden questions:

”What does it feel like to be dead?
”What motivates undead beings to do what they do?
”What is the scientific rationale behind their existence?
”Why do they always seem so hungry, and seek the flesh of the living?

”Explore the lesser-told stories of zombies and other undead individuals.  Go beyond the horror and discover the true nature of LifeOfDeadpeople risen from the grave!”

So says the blurb for Martinus Press’s “Science-Fictional Look at Zombies, Ghouls, and the Deadly Departed,” LIFE OF THE DEAD (cf. February 17), now scheduled for publication in mid-July.  Moreover, it can be pre-ordered in print for only $12.00, with shipping free in the United States.

My shambler in this salmagundi is a tale of camaraderie that extends beyond the grave among glamorous models, “Girls Gone Dead,” as seen by the man who photographs them yet fears his own career may be dying.  Originally published in NEW DAWN FADES (Post Mortem Press, 2011), “Girls Gone Dead” is seventh in a lineup of nineteen stories as listed, with brief descriptions, below.

More on LIFE OF THE DEAD, including pre-ordering information, can be found here.

Table of Contents:

1: Living Ever After -by Emily Swaim
When the plague of death infects humanity, Evelyn Lifor fights for a cure, but not everyone wants to be cured.

2: Last Request –by Edmund Wells
An undead comedian runs afoul of angry country folk, and has one last shot at the spotlight.

3: Stiffed –by Ken MacGregor and Kerry G.S. Lipp
Jason wakes up dead, but for how long?

4: Death Insurance –by L. Rigdon
After a fatal accident, Samuel Hinkley finds that his death insurance premium has been misplaced by computer error, forcing him to wade through a sea of bureaucracy to claim his rightful rest.

5: The Future –by Mark Olivares
Amidst the zombie apocalypse, there lurks a new sort of hunter.

6: Tickity-Tock –by Joseph Conat
Detectives are on the hunt for a criminal intent on utilizing zombies as a deadly weapon.

7: Girls Gone Dead –by James S. Dorr
Undead models make for modest profit for this professional photographer.

8: And Then There Were None –by Karl G. Rich
Years beyond the zombie wars, a top-secret research group hunts for answers amidst the Siberian permafrost.

9: Cure –by Jay Wilburn
To defeat the zombie menace, great sacrifices must be made, and the cure could be a deadly one!

10: The Miracle of Death –by Edmund Wells
When an eccentric old doctor promises the story of a lifetime, one ambitious young reporter seeks to make a name for herself.

11: Zombie Zoo –by Tim Mucci
On a distant colony world, the remnants of the great zombie plague remain as a fading attraction to space-faring tourists.

12: The Shombie Apocalypse –by Neal Wooten
Questions and controversy plague a society where only women are affected by the zombie affliction.

13: Dead Thoughts –by Ross Baxter
A legendary crime boss hires a college student to perform a controversial experiment on his zombified daughter—to unlock her dead thoughts!

14: Z1 –by JL Mo
The Sauntess race came to Earth with the promise of peace, only to infect mankind with a deadly virus, one they are desperate to cure.

15: Just Another Friday Night –by David Greske
A macabre ensemble gathers for drinks and poker at the local cemetery.

16: The Quantum Dead –by Larry Hinkle
Theoretical physics plays a role in explaining the lives and motivations of the undead.

17: Dread Man Walking –by Barry Rosenberg
Cursed with a horrible disease, one scientist develops a lethal cure for himself.

18: Beau –by Lauren A. Forry
What happens to man’s best friend when the zombie apocalypse strikes?

19: Soul Tracker –by Dan Gainor
A science-fiction epic of alien worlds, conjoined souls, and one man’s quest to become the ultimate warrior.

They’re not really haiku nor do I usually call them such, but I am fond of writing three-line epigrams with syllable counts approaching, though not necessarily exactly, 5-7-5.  These are fun and, especially, seem from time to time to find homes in STAR*LINE (cf. April 15 this year, May 18 2013, others).  So this afternoon it has happened again, with a three-line mini-epic called “Sign Me Up as Well, Quickly” exploring the borderland between vampirism and the insurance industry accepted for a future issue.  The actual issue it will appear in is not yet decided, but when word comes it will be shared here.

In another item, Isis — that is, THE TEARS OF ISIS — in honor of her turn on the stage as a Stoker® Fiction Collection nominee, is scheduled to come out with an all-new cover reflecting that status.  This may come about fairly quickly according to Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s Max Booth III, perhaps as soon as about the beginning of July, but at latest, hopefully, in time for some copies to be shown at NASFiC, the North American Science Fiction convention for those who can’t make it to WorldCon in London this year.  More on this also as it becomes known.

The simplest goals of Marxist literary criticism can include an assessment of the political “tendency” of a literary work, determining whether its social content or its literary form are “progressive”.  It also includes analyzing the class constructs demonstrated in the literature.  (From Wikipedia: “Marxist Literary Criticism “)

If you’re a vampire, it helps to be rich.  At least nowadays in the 21st century.  That is, a long, long time ago I had college level courses in theories of criticism and, while a Marxist approach may seem odd for a romantic reunion between two vampires, if you think about it vampirism itself represents a form of class struggle.  But ONLY onlyloversLOVERS LEFT ALIVE is more than just that, it is first and foremost a love story — and, as we shall see, not just between two people, but love and appreciation of life itself.

As for being rich, one has to get blood from underground sources — not only do “traditional methods” attract dangerous attention, so much blood on the hoof, as it were, is polluted these days — and that takes money.  As for class struggle, well, the vampires in this film refer to ordinary folk as “zombies” because, with the rare exception of artists and scientists and very few others, most humans are “dead” to the wonders and beauty that’s all around them.  Worse, in their blind struggle to get by on their own human terms, they’re taking the Earth down the toilet with them.

But we don’t learn much about economics — simply accept that “Adam” and “Eve” (the movie is partly inspired by Mark Twain’s last book, THE DIARIES OF ADAM AND EVE) and Christopher Marlow (the movie abounds with literary references) et al. have the means they require.  Though wonderfully, simply, the movie ends with the lovers in Tangier bereft of everything but themselves (and, well, maybe a wad of cash, but not that much) asking, momentarily, “what do we do now?”  Then, being realistic as well as romantics, realizing what they must.

“Excusez-moi?”

I’m being purposely obscure in all this because this is a movie one should see for oneself.  It’s a wonder of visuals and sound, including Yasmine in the Moroccan nightclub at the end reminding us once more of the love of music, just as the non-Tangier parts of the movie take place in Detroit, “Motown,” even now still a center of music as well as a city on the decline.  Both beauty and squalor (in which terms, then compare and contrast Eve and her little sister Ava).  In some ways I’m reminded of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, though that may just be my own eccentricity, but like that movie ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is sweet and beautiful yet, at the same time, ruthless and sad.

Or such are my thoughts of the moment, having just come back from an IU Cinema screening of the film.

 

Actually it was five poems at first.  These were ones originally sent to DISTURBED last year but, at Editor Terrie Relf’s request at the time, re-submitted to BLOODBOND.  So, early this morning, came the acceptance from Alban Lake Publishing Assistant Editor Rachel Holt:  “Please accept my apologies in getting to you so late.  Terrie has reduced her workload, and Tyree and I are working to play catch-up. We’d very much like to accept all of these poems for the Nov. 2014 issue of BLOODBOND. These are all wonderful, funny, well-written and well-developed!  Tyree [Campbell] will be in touch with your contract and the details.”

The only problem was, with the earlier complication combined with length of time, one of the poems had, in the meantime, gotten into a package that went to a different publisher.  Oops.  None of this being publisher two’s fault, though, I made the choice and emailed back that I’d have to withdraw one of the poems, but the other poems were all available and I’d be proud to see them in BLOODBOND.  So, while the contract has not come yet, presumably these four poems have been accepted and should be out in BLOODBOND in the fall:  “Valentine Vamp (‘And So to Bed’),” “The Vampire’s Suggestion (‘Don’t Forget Breath Mints’),” “Entertain the Concept, or, A Vampire’s Dilemma,” and “Sinister.”

In unrelated news, Untreed Reads Publishing is in process of setting up a “Summer Reading List” of ebooks to be discounted 30 percent through the end of July.  Most, if not all, are full size books so my three chapbooks with them are not included, but my fourth story is, “Appointment in Time,” as the opening story of the 2012 New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF YearsEndCover-UpdatedHOLIDAY HORROR.  So, for a real bargain for a book that’s worth reading even without my story (not to mention ideally themed to take one’s mind off the summer;s heat!), just click on any of my three books in the center column that aren’t on sale, VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., or PEDS.  Ironic, eh?  But all will take you to an Untreed Reads Store page that has YEAR’S END on it as a fourth title.

Probably early in July the sale will extend to Untreed Reads books on platforms like Amazon, et al., but Kindle, EPUB, and PDF formats are all available at the Untreed Reads Store as well, with perhaps a few other perks added — not to mention that for us, the authors, eliminating the middleman can bring a better royalty.  For an overview of the Summer Reading List (a few other titles may be added later, but these are the main ones), one can press here, though if you’re specifically interested in YEAR’S END, it’s way at the bottom of the list about six pages down, so I suggest just picking a picture as described in the paragraph above.

News for today, from editor and publisher James Ward Kirk:  “Hello, James.  I hope all is well with you.  I am putting together an anthology entitled THE BEST OF JWK FICTION 2013 and would like to include you.  . . .  Are you interested in having your work represented in the anthology?”  The work in question is “The Sidewalk” which was published in the anthology GRAVE ROBBERS (see March 8 2013, June 7 2012) and has the distinction of having nothing whatsoever to do with robbing graves.  Funny story there, it having originally been submitted and accepted for an anthology about visions of Hell, but somehow it ended up in the wrong book.  Diabolical intervention, no doubt (or, perhaps, if one dug a grave way too deep. . . .).

Be that as it may, I have agreed and — JWK moving fast — have received and filled out and just in the last hour returned the contract.  Publication date isn’t known yet, but when I find out you’ll hear about it here.

Also today Adele Wearing of Fox Spirit Books sent a final galley for THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Volume 1:  “Those of you in Volume 1 please take a look at the attached Galley for formatting errors or typos, please check the contents and copyright pages and bio pages as well as your story as this is the last look before it goes into the world.

”Volume 2 will be done once Vol 1 has been corrected but I thought you’d all want a look at the styling for the paperback. :)”

My story in this is a “Tombs”-set piece, “The Borrowed Man” (cf. May 18, January 11, et al.), with the book as a whole scheduled as of now for a July release.

A pleasant evening.  In fact a pleasant whole early weekend to celebrate the coming of summer, starting with a screening Thursday evening of JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.  This was courtesy of the IU Cinema, a documentary about the Chilean surrealist (who made the cult classic EL TOPO, among others) who was going to make the movie of Herbert’s jodorowsky_dunenovel (but with a really different ending as we find out, and one which I think I would have liked) until the studio took it back from him and gave it to David Lynch instead.  I found it fascinating, including accounts about how he talked Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, and Salvador Dali (yes, that Salvadore Dali, to play the Emperor) into acting in it,  Pink Floyd for music, artists HR Giger and Jean (Moebius) Giraud, etc., with maybe the most interesting being about how it, even if never actually filmed, influenced science fiction movies from the 1980s on, including ALIEN and STAR WARS.   But also even more fascinating was just listening to the artist himself.

“For me, DUNE will be the coming of a god.  I wanted to make something sacred, free, with new perspective.  Open the mind!” — Alejandro Jodorowsky

So maybe one doesn’t really top that, but I’ve just been back home for a couple of hours from a Saturday Midsummer’s Night double header. Science fiction, fantasy, witchcraft, jazz . . . magic and light.  The first part for magic, having to do with a special display at the Indiana University Lilly Library on “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, & Stage Magicians.”  To quote their blog: “In addition to the uncanny display, the opening reception will include a magic show with self-proclaimed ‘spooky magician’ Steve Bryant.  With disembodied ‘stage hands’ to help him with card tricks and eerie illusions, Bryant ensures there will be at least one scream during the show.”  And there was at least one scream, having to do with a snake in a bucket — or was it really?

“’Any magic trick really well done is kind of spooky because it kind of shocks your system,’ Bryant said. ‘Some magicians like laughs, some like applause, I occasionally like screams.’”  As for me, while most of the presentation was with cards (and the occasional disembodied hand), I liked the basketball in the briefcase at the end as well.

But if that weren’t all, at just about the time that ended, to which were added brief talks by the exhibit’s curators plus at least a cursory look at the displays themselves (granted that by then the place was crowded, but there will be time to come back at leisure until August 30), the Art Museum — more or less just across the street — was beginning its own celebration, the return and relighting of the Light Totem.  For this, a bit of history via Wikipedia:

IULightTotem

The Light Totem

“The Light Totem installation at the Indiana University Art Museum was completed in 2007.  It was commissioned as a temporary installation to celebrate the 25–year anniversary of the [I.M. Pei designed] Indiana University Art Museum building.  Due to its popularity with the campus and community, Light Totem was approved by the Board of Trustees to become a permanent fixture outside the museum in 2010.  Artist Robert Shakespeare used LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to illuminate both the 70-foot freestanding tower, and the 40-foot tube within the atrium of the museum.

“The Light Totem also illuminates the wall of the Art Museum with a computerized display of changing colors.  Each of the lighted sections can be programmed to project any color and change color up to every tenth of a second.  The entire display uses only 3,000 watts of electricity, about the amount used when a hair dryer and toaster are running simultaneously, according to the artist.  Students often can be seen lying on their backs with their feet up on the wall, watching the colors change.

The thing was, though, the original tower had been intended to be temporary which meant, among other things, some of the welding, etc., wasn’t really up to the standard for a permanent outdoor structure.  So down it went in the spring of 2013 for re-engineering, and now, at the summer solstice 2014, it was time for its resurrection.

In short, from about 7 p.m. on it was party time (though — a perk for having a house practically next to a major state university — I did bug out for about an hour to go home for a snack, as well as make a sandwich for a late supper for when I returned for good), dancing outside or just listening to jazz by local band The Dynamics, self-guided art tours inside (I mostly contemplated sculptures of the Buddha in the Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World, on the second floor, which seemed somehow right), until 9:30 and near-dark.  And then a few speeches, including by artist Rob Shakespeare, a sort of relaxed pseudo-ceremony, and . . . the re-lighting!

For more, enjoy its picture.

This just in (literally):  OmniLit.com is holding a 25 percent off sale for Untreed Reads Publishing titles to celebrate the summer solstice.  However, the sale is for this day, the first day of summer only so one must hurry.  Four titles of mine are involved in this (three pictured in the column to right, but for the sale one must go to OmniLit directly), VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF. . . ., PEDS, and the Untreed Reads YEAR’S END New Year’s anthology in which the lead story, “Appointment in Time,” is by me.

If interested, press here, then click to “Author” in the Search Box at the upper right and enter “James S. Dorr.”  But once again the discount is offered for purchases this day, Saturday, only, so one must act now.

The buzz is out, that Dave Gammon’s review of SPLATTERLANDS (see April 14 this year; December 4, November 22 2013, et al.) on HORRORNEWS.NET gives, if not a literally blow by blow, a story by story précis of its contents.  But that isn’t all.  Following that rundown Dave adds his own comments, exploring the subgenre as regards SPLATTERLANDS in some splatterlands2_smalldepth (including, to be sure, the warning: it’s “not for the faint of heart”), concluding that not only is the book a, um, bloody good collection of horror, the stories in general display a conciseness combined with power that shows off short fiction at its best.  SPLATTERLANDS, it should be added, is edited by Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson.

I recommend the review, especially for those who might look down at horror as “all blood and guts” — horror in general isn’t, of course, but Dave Gammon’s review does discuss that relatively small part that is in sufficient detail to allow one to know what (if that’s one’s bent) to avoid and why.  My part in this, incidentally, is a piece I think of myself as “working class noir,” ultimately a fairly quiet domestic tale titled “The Artist.”

But don’t take it from me.  For this and more, one need but press here.

 

The things we run across on the internet!  Today’s find:  a preview from Horrified Press of Editor Gavin Chappell’s anthology UNTIL THE END (see December 20 2013, et al.), “an anthology of love vs. the apocalypse,” or, notably, my story in it “Tunnels.”  This is a story first published in Britain, in LEAFING THROUGH in December 2004, as told through the eyes of a child who has spent her whole life in tunnels carved out beneath a once-city.

The catch is this.  Most of the story is actually given in the preview — to read it for yourself press here — but, once you (hopefully) get hooked on what’s going on, there’s a whole page missing!  Well, about a page’s worth of text judging from the print edition, but enough to, once again hopefully, get you to press the link to the left on the site to order a copy of the anthology.

If you don’t, the sample lets you “jump ahead” to see how it all ends (if you don’t mind being exposed again to the little monster/narrator’s horrid diction, but after all it is a child some generations after a nuclear holocaust, who hence may not have had the best schooling).  So you actually do get most of the story, and I’ll call it here an “almost” lagniappe.  But if you’d still like to see it all, there are something like 26 additional tales and poems of, to quote the blurb, “a new dawn — one filled with violent mutations and terrifying consequences” awaiting those who chance to purchase UNTIL THE END.




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